Sepro to Expand Robot Operations in France and U.S.
Following four years of record-setting sales growth, Sepro Group is announcing a three-phase, EUR 11 million expansion plan. In France, the plan will increase production capacity at Sepro’s headquarters facility in La Roche-sur-Yon, and launch a new global training facility nearby. In the U.S., the plan will add large-robot assembly capabilities to the systems integration and service operations already in place at the Sepro America operation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
By their own account, Sepro is the largest maker of robots in France and also is a leading global supplier of 3-, 5- and 6-axis robots used in the automation of plastics injection molding machines. During the past four years, the company has more than doubled the number of robots sold, from 1300 in 2012 to more than 2700 in 2016: “We have reached the limits of our production capacity and we need to invest,” says Jean Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro Group.
Development in France
The expansion of Sepro Group’s corporate headquarters and production facility in La Roche-sur-Yon, from its current 13,000 m2 to nearly 20,000 m2 , will take place over the next months until summer 2018. A key element of the expansion is the plan to separate robot manufacturing from robot integration workflow. This change, together with added space, will increase production capacity for Sepro 3-, 5-, and 6-axis robots from 3000 to 5000 units annually. The facility’s robot integration business units, where Sepro professionals develop custom robotic automation cells, will expand by 50 %, enabling work teams to complete up to 70 specialized projects annually for clients in Europe.
The second phase of Sepro’s expansion in France will relocate its training center from the current headquarters site to a new 800 m2 facility, in the nearby municipality of La Roche-sur-Yon. The new center, which will include five training rooms with eight full-time trainers will be located within a new open, cooperative campus that is being developed as a regional center of excellence for robotics and manufacturing by the Pays de la Loire region of France and Oryon, a local economic development group. Sepro trainers plan to move into the new training center in summer 2018 and begin training up to 1500 course participants annually, a 50% increase over existing enrollments. The center will house some twenty-five robots, including 3-, 5-, and 6-axis robots from Sepro, Sepro-Stäubli, and Sepro-Yaskawa, and offer trainees a wide variety of hands-on programming experiences.
Expansion in North America
In the fourth quarter of 2017, Sepro’s investment plan calls for expansion of the Sepro America facility in Pittsburgh to allow assembly of large robots. Adding assembly capabilities represents the next logical step in growth for the facility, which is already a hub for systems integration and the assembly of complex automation cells in North America. The expansion will help optimize delivery schedules in North America clients, while achieving savings in logistics and transport.
The current expansion will support assembly of robots designed for use with injection-molding machines of 800 tons or more that are bound for clients in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. It will more than double the assembly/production area of the facility, increasing it from 900 m2 to 2000 m2 .
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